Josep Roca and Alessandro Tomberli participated in the 16th edition of Identità Milano, within Identità di Sala: here with the classic photo with host Federico De Cesare Viola (all photos from Brambilla Serrani)
When talking about work, especially in restaurants, we should mostly talk about "Human Capital": because work is not something abstract, it is made of men and women: how to motivate your team, select it, train it, make both work and personal life sustainable and beautiful, develop your team's potential, make sure they are paid the right amount and motivate them, allow each member to develop their talents, o work in a healthy and collaborative environment for the team's wellbeing, which is necessary for guests' wellbeing too…
These are topics that were covered by all the lessons of the 16th edition of Identità Milano, dedicated to work. As we know, of the experience had in a restaurant, what we take home with us is how we were treated, the beauty of an evening spent in company, of which the food and drinks are only a component. At the restaurant, as in life, it's the people with whom we interact that create value and wellbeing.
This was also discussed in the chat, in fact in the “Three-starred recommendations” – though the stars were in fact six (three + three) – that Federico De Cesare Viola caught from Josep Roca of El Celler de Can Roca and Alessandro Tomberli of Enoteca Pinchiorri.
Team spirit and a closely-knit brigade that works serenely are also very important for Alessandro Tomberli, historic sommelier and dining room manager in the establishment born as Enoteca Nazionale almost 50 years ago which has just turned 40 under the brand Enoteca Pinchiorri. An institution in Florence and in the restaurant world. Tomberli has insisted a lot on the importance of adequate training and of a broad basic knowledge so that the staff can covey the importance of Enoteca Pinchiorri and Florence, the city where the restaurant is located, and whose identity is closely connected with this restaurant, a source of pride for the capital of Tuscany.
The joy of reopening, of being able once again to share, and host - «We had never spent so much time without working» said Josep; «Stopping for such a long time was crazy» added Tomberli – matched with the experience, for restaurateurs, of welcoming a different public, geographically, for the obvious limitations to travels imposed by the pandemic.
We were used to welcome clients who were 45% from different countries at El Celler de Can Roca. In the past two years, instead, clients have been mostly locals, and younger too: «Seeing the restaurant full even during the hardest regional confinement was beautiful» said Josep, who also noticed a younger public, who tends to be more charmed and seeks contact.
Indeed it is for the younger public that Enoteca Pinchiorri designed a new offer «to attract those who still don't know us». A series of events, Pinchiorri Experience , dedicated to the producers from Burgundy and based on three great wines with which they pair the food from the three-starred kitchen of Riccardo Monco and Alessandro Della Tommasina. Not affordable for everyone, indeed (the price is 200 euros per person) and in any case it's all sold out until the end of October: «90% of the people who have arrived at the Enoteca during one of these events were surprised an enthusiastic and came back to visit us», says Tomberli.
The Roca brothers too didn't sit on their hands: on the ground floor of Hotel Boutique Casa Cacao, 15 rooms opened one month before the pandemic exploded, they opened a fabrica de chocolate: an open-view lab, bar, and a shop where you can buy the bean-to-bar chocolate made by Jordi, Josep's brother, where you can study, elaborate and taste cocoa through guided experiences.
There are also two new establishments: a banquet room converted into a restaurant called Mas Marroch, and Normal opened in July this year which recuperates Catalan tradition though a cuisine that is straightforward and normal, as hinted by the name.
Last note: both Tamberli and Roca spoke of how dress code has lost its importance: clients shouldn't – and don't want – to be anxious about how they're dressed. It's a matter of relaxing, spending a nice evening, having fun together and be charmed; all these new interpretations of the new concept of luxury that has spurred after the pandemic: eating together, spending time together, tasting something new, sharing and going out, relaxing, having a good time.
Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso
born in 1979 in Milan, her mother is from Alto Adige and her father is a Croatian grown up in Trieste: she’s the daughter of Italian irredentism and is strongly attracted by the southern hemisphere. She has written (for Diario and Agrisole among others), translated (includingPellegrino Artusi’sLa scienza in Cucina ), eaten and tasted – without ever stopping taking pictures – in Argentina, Chile and Guatemala for over 5 years. Since she had to move to Italy, she went as south as she could. Since 2016 she lives in Sicily, and collaborates with Wine in Sicily and Identità Golose
Joan Roca, 59, chef and patron at Celler de Can Roca in Gerona, Spain. The picture was taken during a four-handed dinner with friend and colleague Paco Perez, Arco restaurant in Gdansk, Poland
The kitchen at Enoteca Pinchiorri fully at work: we only stole a moment from Alessando Della Tommasina and Riccardo Monco, to take this photo